WILDWOOD — The city is consolidating its planning and zoning boards into one body.

The boards were split into two after a vote by city residents in 2003. At the time, the city, like the nation, was in the midst of a building boom. An increase in applications led to support for creating separate boards, a proposal supported by Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr.

But as the building business slowed, the need for two boards diminished. On Monday, the three-member City Commission voted for an ordinance to create a combined planning/zoning board.

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The new board will have nine members.

Also Monday, the commissioners heard from representatives of New Jersey Hope and Healing, a nonprofit group funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The group offered its services to people dealing with Hurricane Sandy’s emotional toll.

“Immediately after a disaster, people are looking to meet basic needs, and the emotional component is left to be dealt with later,” Renee Burawski, the program director, said.

Crisis counselors Meghan Gorecke and Michaela Stone told the commissioners that residents from the county and the state can seek help for those needs.

“Some people don’t realize how they’re affected until they talk about it,” Gorecke said. She recalled hearing from people coping with the aftereffects.

Stone said she also has spoken to people who have housed family members and others who were helped by their church families.

The two have spoken to Ocean County residents brought to Cape May County after the storm left that area particularly hard hit.

“We want to help them understand their reactions and what’s common and any lingering concerns they have,” Burawski said.

Anyone wishing to contact the agency may visit www.disastermentalhealthnj.com or call 877-294-4357.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:



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